Men’s Health Information and Resource Centre

Dept of Veterans Affairs: Men's Health Peer Education

DVA The Men's Health Peer Education approach is an effective model of communicating health information to groups of men around improving lifestyles and behaviours.

"The program trains volunteers from all age groups to provide health information to members of the veteran and ex-service community..."
The Men's Health Peer Education (MHPE) program was funded as part of the supplementary package of support provided by the Australian Government in response to the validated findings of the Vietnam Veterans' Health Study.
The concept for the Men's Health Peer Education program came from the veteran community. It is based on a Tasmanian pilot conducted in 1999 by the Vietnam Veterans' Association of Australia (Tas). The pilot was in response to the recognition that Vietnam veterans experienced a higher incidence of certain conditions, including coronary heart disease, prostate cancer, high alcohol consumption and related conditions and diabetes.
Following the pilot project and national consultation with veteran communities, the MHPE program was set up to raise awareness about men's health issues by encouraging all members of the veteran and ex-service community to share the responsibility for managing their own health and well being. To achieve this aim, the program trains volunteers from all age groups to provide health information to members of the veteran and ex-service community.

What does a volunteer do? 

After attending a training course run by the DVA, the volunteer agrees to share this health information with others. This can be done via many channels: for example, giving a talk on a health issue at a local community group or ex-service organisation meeting; setting up or working with ‘Men’s Sheds’, running a stand at a community expo; or personally chatting to a person, such as with a mate at a barbeque.
The range of ways to spread the word on men’s health is quite diverse.  How the volunteer chooses to do this is up to their own personal style and what they feel most comfortable doing.
It is also up to the volunteer to decide on their own time commitment. Some may predominantly ‘work’ one day or night per week, while others may opt to ‘work’ when events come up (for example, setting up a stall at an air-show and manning it for the whole weekend).
The MHPE Volunteer must sign a Volunteer Agreement, agreeing to abide by the MHPE Volunteer Code of Conduct and Roles and Responsibilities and to share health information with others.

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